Traditional Japanese clothing is no longer only for people living in Japan. More Westerners are wearing samue and jinbei clothing as leisure wear around the house as well as outdoors.

For people that are new to Japanese traditional clothing, it can be hard to know what the differences are between the different styles. Whilst both are similar in style to kimonos, they are easier to wear.

We’ve created this Samue vs. Jinbei guide to help you understand what are the differences between the two. We’ll also look at the similarities! Some of the important areas that we’ll include are the types of materials used, the designs, when to wear them, price points, and more!




samue vs jinbei


The first difference between samue and jinbei clothing is the design. The upper half of the samue has longer three-quarter length sleeves and long pants. Whereas, the jinbei is the opposite with short sleeves on the top and shorts on the bottom.


Ties and Knots

On the pants of traditional samue clothing you’d find a knot to fasten at the bottom of each leg. Obviously, as the bottom half of jinbei clothing isn’t full length, there is no need for this tie knot or elasticated band. It’s worth mentioning that some modern samue also have elasticated bands at the end of the sleeves on the top as well as the pants. This is so that it doesn’t get caught in anything when doing daily chores. This isn’t required for jinbei as the sleeves are short.


Ventilation Slits

The next design difference is that the jinbei has ventilation slits near the shoulder, whilst the samue doesn’t. This was originally added to keep the person wearing it cool and comfortable in the humid summer months.

Depending on the brand, this part will be made with yarn knitting or ladder-shaped lacing to create the ventilation gap. The latter is the more popular option with modern jinbei. You can find both options available when shopping our jinbei range.

Jinbei vs Samue Design


Apart from these three main differences, the samue and jinbei designs are quite similar. They both have two side pockets on the shorts and depending on the manufacturer you can also find another pocket on the back of the pants and sometimes even one on the top.




When it comes to materials used for samue and jinbei, they are actually quite similar. As jinbei is worn in the summer and more informal than samue, it is made of light materials to keep the person wearing it cool.

You can also find lightweight samue clothing for summer, but the key difference between the two is that there are also thicker materials used for samue for those that are meant to be worn in the colder months.

Whilst traditional samue and jinbei was was mostly made from cotton, hemp, or a mixed blend of the two, there are other materials used as well. For example, polyester is often used now and this material is great for being wrinkle-resistant and easy to wash.

Some brands also offer denim samue and jinbei which can be a nice alternative if you’re not looking for traditional materials.

 Jinbei materials


Samue has a larger range of materials due to the fact that they can be worn all year round. You can find light options for the summer months like with the jinbei, as well as thicker materials for the fall or winter months.

For example, our Wool-like stretch samue is made from polyester that is 0.66mm in thickness, whereas the standard thickness for jinbei and summer samue is around 0.2 to 0.3mm. Some of the heaviest samues that we offer for the colder months are even thicker up to 1.35mm.


Where and When to Wear Samue & Jinbei

Jinbei Summer


As you might have gathered from the differences in design and material, there are also differences in where and when to wear samue and jinbei. Samue can be worn all year round, whilst jinbei is intended to be worn in summer.

If you plan to wear a samue in summer, then you’ll want to pick one that is thin enough to keep you cool otherwise it’s best to wear a jinbei.



Also, some people would choose to wear their jinbei and samue at home as an alternative to comfortable relaxing clothing than outside of the home. That said, in Japan, you’ll find many men and women wearing jinbei at summer festivals across the country instead of traditional yukata.

So, there’s no reason to stop you from rocking your jinbei and samue in public too!



One of the main differences between samue and jinbei is that samue was first worn by Buddhist monks. It is the more versatile of the two as it can be worn in many situations, Still to this day, monks wear samue clothing, as well as sometimes waiters in restaurants, craftsmen, and other professions within Japan.


samue tradition



Another difference between Samue and Jinbei is the price point. Samue is generally more expensive as more materials are required to make it. This adds to the amount of time and work needed in the manufacturing process.

Whilst the lowest-priced samue and jinbei are similar in price, our higher-end samue options are almost double the price of the most expensive jinbei. This is because our more expensive samue models are mostly made with thicker and dearer materials which naturally cost more.


Whichever You Choose, Wasuian Has You Covered


That’s all for our Jinbei vs. Samue guide, we should now have a better understanding of what the differences are between the two, as well as the similarities.

If you’re looking for Japanese clothing to wear only in the warm summer months on a budget then it’s best to pick jinbei. Any of our jinbei products will keep you cool with their short sleeves, shorts, and ventilation slits by the shoulder.

However, if you want to buy something versatile that you can wear year-long, then a light to midweight samue is the best option. Even with the long pants and long sleeves, it’s still ultra comfortable to wear. No matter which one you go with, you can find the best fit for you here at Wasuian.



Can jinbei and samue be worn casually?

Yes, jinbei and samue can both be worn casually either at home when relaxing or even outside in public. Whilst jinbei is known for being worn mainly in summer, Samue is casually worn throughout the entire year in many different scenarios.


casual samue

Are samue and jinbei comfortable?

Samue and jinbei are extremely comfortable as they’re known for being outfits to relax in. Some people even wear them instead of wearing pajamas. The slits just below the shoulder on the jinbei also allow for added ventilation making it comfortable and cool during the summer months. Samue is also worn as pajamas throughout the rest of the year once it gets a bit colder.


samue comfortable

What are jinbei and samue made of?

Samue and jinbei are made from a range of different materials. The most popular are the traditional materials like cotton, hemp (ramie), or a combination of the two. Though you will also find samue, and jinbei for that matter, made from polyester. As well as these materials, you’ll also find some brands that use denim.

There is an article summarizing the fabrics. Please refer to it.

Fabrics We Use to Make Traditional Japanese Samue


How do you wash samue and jinbei?

The method to wash your samue and jinbei will vary depending on the material. The washing label inside the garment will advise you which methods can and can’t be used.

Ideally, you should put your samue or jinbei in a net bag first before washing it in the washing machine. This will stop any string getting caught in the machine and there’s less risk of tearing the clothing.

It’s also best to have it on the lowest spin as this can cause some materials to shrink. Also, never use the tumble dryer as he heat could cause it to shrink.

We’ve got a dedicated article on how to wash and care for your samue and jinbei, so make sure to read that before you wash yours for the first time.



Can you sleep in samue and jinbei?

Samue and jinbei can both be used to sleep in and it’s now quite common to find hotels in Japan that offer them instead of yukata. Jinbei is better to wear during hot summer nights as the design makes it more breathable compared to samue. That said, jinbei won’t give you the same warmth as samue does in the colder months.

Samue sleep
December 28, 2022 — Masaharu Ida
Tags: Jinbei Samue